Please excuse my late reply. As Anil mentioned, I am working on my travel blog with complete details of our Croatia trip. That is taking much longer than I expected. In the meantime I wanted to sincerely thank you and Alan for organizing an impeccable trip for us. Your suggestions were spot on and we were completely satisfied with the quality of service you provided for us.
We travel extensively all over the world and half the fun is the actual planning and researching and I look forward to getting involved with that. This time however I had less free time due to a few weddings in the family and graduations and life in general was getting in the way. I am not even sure how I ended up with Secret Dalmatia because initially I was researching other contacts and tour agents that I was recommended or happened to come across in my search. One contact led to another and ultimately I ended up emailing with Alan. We haven’t looked back since....
The meticulous care you took to find the right guides and drivers for us really impressed us. The itinerary was good - we loved everything so I don’t know if we should have added something else or removed a day or an attraction somewhere. We might have missed something but we came away very happy and satisfied and loved, loved, loved Croatia and the warm, beautiful people, and the stunning clear waters of the Adriatic.
Our guides Katya and Ivana were lovely. Knowledgeable and enthusiastic, they were happy to talk about the history and just as happy to answer our many questions. They were mindful of our family’s different tastes and energy levels and we were very comfortable with them.
We managed to build a great rapport with the wonderful drivers who were taking us from place to place. Tijo ( please excuse me if I spell their names wrong) was a very nice young man, very polite and respectful and a pleasure to talk to. Leo was full of energy and information and we were fascinated with his details and descriptions and his discipline. Frano was also very courteous, friendly and informative and through him we got to hear and understand so many nuances of the country’s history. The only driver who was just as efficient but we did not get much time to interact with him directly was Tomas because on the drive to Piltvice, Ivana was with us and all our question were directed to her. He also did drive us from Zadar to Split but that was too early in the morning and while everyone slept, I was ‘forbidden’ to ask him any questions and disturb everyone’s deep slumber!
I don’t have a single complaint about any of the drivers. They were all very safe and accomplished drivers. They came with clean cars and they were very talented and highly educated. They were a wealth of information which is exactly what we wanted and we were not disappointed at all. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to meet these gracious young men and women who are so proud of their culture and history.
I already submitted my reviews on Trip Advisor for all the hotels and restaurants we went to.
We loved Hotel Marmont and were extremely happy with the hotel, the location, the rooms and the quality of service. I particularly loved the restaurant with its wide open doors that gave us the ambience of practically dining on the streets. The hotel took pains to train their staff and everything was elegant and well presented.
We also liked Hotel Bastion very much but perhaps a slight notch under Hotel Marmont. I guess the rooms were a bit more formal and small and the bathrooms seemed to have been renovated but not designed to be very functional. I loved the location and the breakfast staff were very pleasant and helpful. I almost felt that because this hotel is under the Relais and Chateaux brand, the front desk wanted to personify this accomplishment in their attitude and even though they were very polite, they seemed a bit stand offish and a bit less friendly.
At Hvar, you are aware of our concern and misgivings at Hotel Park. It had a lovely location and I loved the old world charm of the hotel. But when we checked in, there was just this one solitary desk in the ‘lobby’ and the lady there really didn’t have any answers to any of our questions. When we went back a bit later to move our luggage, there was another gentleman at the desk and he might have been the manager perhaps, but he was very kind and understanding and gave out much better vibes. The gentleman from hotel Park who helped us with our luggage from the ferry and then also to move the luggage to hotel Amfora was extremely gracious and very obliging.
Hotel Amfora is this huge American type resort- large and loud and busy. We had no complaints. We had good rooms. The first night we were put in a two bedroom suite because thats all they had available. It was an older room, with dated furnishings but plenty of space. The next day we were moved to two sea facing rooms. The rooms had beautiful views but they were a bit small. The bathrooms were perplexing and oddly designed again. The front desk staff were very pleasant and helpful. We got to meet and spend time with Igor Tabac, the general manager there as well as Marieta who was in charge of the banquets and events. We got to spend time at the Adriana hotel as well and Nikolina who was the manager at the restaurants and cafes was so kind and chatty and friendly. We used the spa at the the Adriana and when one of the masseuses performed very poorly, the reception at the spa was very considerate and understanding.
Hotel Lapad in Dubrovnik had an interesting location. Initially we thought we were away from the action, but like every other guest in the hotel, when we discovered the bus no. 6, going back and forth to the old town was no problem at all. Walking around the old harbor was very nice as well. The rooms were a bit small and hard to get to via a couple of elevators and corridors. The bathrooms had clear doors and that was very odd. Our keys would stop working very often and we would have to trudge back to the reception several times. The staff at the front desk were not particularly warm. They were not impolite but they were not too friendly. Maybe it was just the fact that we were now in a big city and the employees are more frazzled and busy. I am not sure what it was but they preferred to keep their distance. Even the staff in the breakfast restaurant were grim and aloof. The staff at the poolside cafe and bar were courteous and efficient.
In a nutshell, we have become die-hard fans of Secret Dalmatia and will be more than happy to recommend you to any of our friends heading to Croatia. As you are well aware that Croatia is a hot destination right now and I will generously share your name and contacts with anyone planning Croatia.
Diana, we sincerely appreciate the time you spent with us going over everything and alleviating any apprehensions we might have and answering all our questions. Alan, for you to find those two minutes to meet us just before leaping on to a departing ferry was very gracious and thoughtful and we appreciated that very much.
Thank you again guys and we are around if you need any thing from here.